To say a two-man team building a platformer on the Unreal Engine took on a daunting task would be an understatement. But after seven months of heavy development, dotBot‘s first title Mustachio: The Adventure (universal) hit the App Store this week – and while its in no way perfect, it sets the foundation for a very promising iOS adventure.
Mustachio is a full-fledged ‘classic’ side-scrolling adventure: the hero Mustachio is on a quest to save a princess through a world full of enemies to defeat, coins to collect, and obstacles to traverse. There are only eight levels in the release version, but those levels are quite expansive, and not at all aimed toward appealing to the most casual gamers in the App Store: it takes some skill and patience to make it through the game’s levels without dying – and to find the hidden key and treasure chest in each level, which really encourages some rewarding exploration.
As we all know, a platformer can live or die based on its control scheme, and the touch-based joypad of Mustachio works quite well. The d-pad on-screen icon is a little bit small, but the gestures are recognized outside of them, so even the big-fingered gamer won’t have to worry about having little control over the mustache-wearing protagonist.
I think it’s worth noting the use of the Unreal Engine in this game, because most titles built on that engine are more graphically intense games focused on over-the-shoulder action and console-like weather effects. Mustachio manages to utilize some of the dynamic effects found in the engine, without putting an over emphasis on the game’s visuals, keeping the look simple and cartoon-like, an important design choice I think the game benefits from.
But older device users be warned: the Unreal Engine is tricky, and most likely, older devices are going to suffer severely from bad frame rates and slowdown, so even though its visual style is simple and uncomplicated, some might experience some frame rate problems.
Overall, Mustachio feels like a game that needs more than 8 levels and 40 Game Center achievements: it needs more power ups, levels, and a more visible personality in its storyline. But young gamers and super-fans of the genre are still going to enjoy Mustachio quite a bit: it’s a perfectly solid platformer that has the potential to grow into a premiere platforming title for iOS.